Healing from Dental Implants
The whole dental implant placement process takes about six to nine months to complete, from the first consultation to crown placement. This might take longer depending on your bone structure, how fast your gum heals, and several other factors.
What to Expect After the Surgery
As with any other surgery, you will experience some discomfort right after dental implant placement. How quickly you will heal depends on how you take care of yourself during this stage. These discomforts are essential to your healing process, but observe how they develop to get the help you need when problems occur.
- You will start to feel some discomfort as the anesthetic wears off, and your doctor will include a pain reliever in your prescription medication.
- Expect your gums and face to swell. Your doctor will also prescribe anti-inflammation medicine to control the swelling.
- There will be some bruising on your facial skin and gums, but they will eventually disappear as you heal. If the bruises do not improve, contact your doctor for advice.
- You will experience slight bleeding on the surgical site, which might worsen if you do not follow proper post-op care.
Things to Remember During the First Two Weeks After the Surgery
Your recovery process begins right after you step out of the operating room. This is the part where you should start applying your doctor’s instructions. Here are some of the things your doctor will most likely tell you to do after the surgery:
- If blood starts coming from your gums right after leaving the office, do not worry, as this is normal, and it might continue to happen for the next couple of days. Your doctor has placed gauze sponges over the surgical site to control the bleeding. You just have to continue biting on them for another hour or two until the bleeding wanes.
- If your implants are in your upper jaw, especially if you have had zygomatic implant support, you may experience bleeding from your nose. When this happens, gently blot the blood without blowing your nose.
- You may eat after at least one hour post-surgery. Remove the gauze sponges that you have been biting on first. Eat soft foods that will not force you to chew hard. Avoid hot foods or drinks until you are sure that the surgical site will not be irritated. Also, do not use a straw when you drink, as this may affect your wound.
- Be sure to take your prescription medication, but only after you have eaten something. Ibuprofen or Tylenol should not be taken on an empty stomach.
- You may experience a slight fever right after the surgery. However, if the fever continues for several days, that might be a sign of infection. In that case, contact your doctor right away.
- As explained, dental implant placement involves opening the gum. Meaning, you will most likely have stitches in your mouth. Avoid moving them with your tongue, as this can result in the wound re-opening. Most sutures fall out and disappear completely after a week.
- You can resume brushing your teeth 24 hours after the surgery, even if the wound is still fresh and delicate. Fluoride from toothpaste helps kill the bacteria in your mouth, which might infect your wound. However, be careful not to rinse too roughly to avoid aggravating your gums. Rinse with mild saltwater every so often as well.
- Your doctor will most likely schedule an appointment with you at least three weeks after the surgery to check how you are improving. But if you notice any issues that you believe are not normal, do not hesitate to contact your doctor.
- You can resume normal activities as soon as you feel it is safe to do so—meaning, your wounds have stopped bleeding, you can brush and floss more easily, and you do not feel pain anymore. But to be safe, keep your activities light and avoid lifting heavy objects.
How to Take Care of Your Implants Until the Crown Placement
Dental implant placement usually takes 3 months but can take up to nine months to complete because it takes that long for the implants to fuse with the jawbone. This means that your post-operative care does not end three weeks after your operation or when your wound closes to hold the crown securely. Here are the practices you should maintain or include in your routine during this stage of the healing process.
Maintain Your Soft Food Diet
With your implants still not fully attached to your jawbone, it is too risky to start eating hard foods too soon. If you want the procedure to succeed, stick to eating the same food your doctor recommended during the first week until you get your crowns.
Continue to Avoid Using a Straw When You Drink
Even the slightest contractions in your mouth can affect the position of your implants. You do not want your implants to twist or tilt as they fuse with your jawbone. Avoid using a straw when you drink or pouting your lips. This helps keep the implants in an upright position until you get your crowns.
Avoid Smoking for a Few Months
The cells in your body need an adequate amount of oxygen to regenerate. Smoking deprives your body of oxygen. Needless to say, avoiding smoking can help your wound heal, and the implants fuse with the jawbone faster.
Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene
Brush and floss regularly. Do not let bacteria build up in your mouth. If you fail to do so, your gums may become infected, and the infection might develop into an acute gum recession. As your gum recedes, your implants lose their footing and eventually break off from your jawbone.